Casinos Head Upstate
1/11/2013 (Updated 11:03:14 PM)Since its opening seven years ago, Tioga Downs Race Track and Casino has drawn millions of visitors.
"We know the success that Tioga Downs has had in the Southern Tier. It's been fantastic for Tioga County and the Southern Tier," said Senator Libous.
What would happen if it became one of the three casinos that Governor Cuomo plans to establish in upstate New York?
"There wouldn't be a casino in New York City, in order to bring people upstate. So definitely, I'd like to see Tioga Downs become a full blown casino," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo.
The president of Tioga Downs says he would like the racino to become a full-fledged casino-- complete with table games, a hotel, and convention space.
"We have the infrastructure, we have the zoning, we're well into permit for growth, so I think we can be one of the quickest revenue growths and one of the quickest job growths in the state," said Tioga Downs President Tom Osiecki.
Osiecki says with enhanced gaming, Tioga Downs could go from employing 611 people to 900, and increase revenue to the Southern Tier by 44 percent.
If Upstate New York does add casinos, including Tioga Downs, one expert says we need to proceed cautiously. She says that with more casinos, we need more awareness about gambling addiction and more treatment programs.
"Unless people like myself-- and those of us in the field that deal with this on a daily basis-- don't step out more and show the downside and the pitfalls to gambling, we're going to see this become more of an epidemic," said Addiction Recovery Coach Lesa Densmore.
Osiecki says every employee at Tioga Downs is trained to recognize problem gambling. He would like to present his plans for Tioga Downs to the Governor.
In Nichols, Samantha Mcdonald, Fox 40 News.
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